By Martha H. Verbrugge

ISBN-10: 0195051246

ISBN-13: 9780195051247

ISBN-10: 1429400986

ISBN-13: 9781429400985

As city lifestyles and women's roles replaced within the nineteenth century, so did attitudes in the direction of actual well-being and womanhood. as a consequence examine of well-being reform in Boston among 1830 and 1900, Martha H. Verbrugge examines 3 associations that popularized body structure and workout between middle-class ladies: the women' Physiological Institute, Wellesley collage, and the Boston basic college of Gymnastics. opposed to the backdrop of a countrywide debate approximately lady tasks and health and wellbeing, this ebook follows middle-class girls as they realized approximately wellbeing and fitness and explored the connection among health and femininity. Combining scientific and social historical past, Verbrugge appears to be like on the traditional girls who participated in future health reform and analyzes the conflicting messages--both feminist and conservative--projected by means of the concept that of "able-bodied womanhood."

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Example text

10 Few American health advocates or other physiologists of the period understood the mechanisms of interdependence. Oftentimes, they invoked the law of stimulation and depletion. On the one hand, organs depended on each other for excitation; only a healthy organ could send the right stimuli to its partners. For example, a good digestive system was the body's sole source of life-sustaining nourishment. On the other hand, the impairment of any one function caused widespread harm. Overuse of an organ diminished its ability to produce the stimuli that other vital systems needed and also appropriated the energizing force of the nerves and blood, thereby withdrawing it from other organs.

Since cleanliness and godliness were synonymous, health was the cornerstone of propriety. ' "58 In sum, health was both the source and the product of respectability. "59 With this behavioral yardstick, the normative content of health became explicit. To measure health, one need only ask to what extent an individual satisfied the moral code of the day. The answer depended on who a person was as much as on how well he or she behaved. Since people did not share the same physical requirements or 42 ABLE-BODIED WOMANHOOD social positions, one could neither expect nor condone uniformity of habits.

As Dr. Thomas S. Lambert elaborated in Hygienic Physiology in 1852, It is clearly proved that the cultivation of the intellect and disposition, in a proper manner and to a proper degree, improves health, adds beauty to strength, and increases the happiness of man, while it lengthens his days; and on the other hand, paying proper attention to the welfare of the body, not only gives it health, but tends to produce as well, a healthy and happiness-causing state of the intellect and disposition. .

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Able-Bodied Womanhood: Personal Health and Social Change in Nineteenth-Century Boston by Martha H. Verbrugge


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